23rd June 1986 & 1st - 7th August 1986
Arrived in Quito and transferred to the hotel with a group of 4 people on a Twickenham Travel wildlife holiday to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, where I was along to look after the group. New species for me will be in bold. Only time for a quick look around before it got dark, seeing an Eared Dove, 4 Rufous-collared Sparrows and a Glossy-black Thrush. The following morning we departed for a 7 day stay on the Galapagos Islands.
We arrived back in Quito the previous evening. We were supposed to leave Quito Airport early before it got too hot for the flight east to Coca, but it was delayed, resulting in a very bumpy flight descending 1,000's of feet on our way to the Napo River, hitting the tops of one thermal after another. Luckily it wasn't a long flight and we were glad to land.
At Coca we boarded the Flotel, a riverboat with two decks which was a floating hotel, among the other passengers was birder Howard Laidlaw and his partner who were on holiday from working in Panama.
We set off eastward/downstream for San Carlos, on the way seeing 4 White-winged Swallows, 4 Turkey Vultures, 2 Amazon Terns, c75 Russet-backed Oropendolas, a Green Kingfisher, a Ringed Kingfisher, a Ladder-tailed Nightjar, 6 Southern Rough-winged Swallows, c8 White-banded Swallows, 2 Drab Water-Tyrants, 40+ Yellow-rumped Caciques, 12+ Social Flycatchers, a Striated Heron, a Great Kiskadee, 3 Scarlet-crowned Barbets - a male and 2 females, a Yellow-headed Caracara, several Tropical Kingbirds, a Lesser Kiskadee, a Crested Oropendola, 20+ Yellow-headed/crowned Parrots and a Violaceous Jay.
Left & above: the Napo River.
Overnight on the Flotel at San Carlos, in the morning on a walk around the village we saw 2 Black-fronted Nunbirds, 2 Green Kingfishers, Yellow-rumped Casiques, White-banded Swallows, a White-winged Swallow, 3 Violaceous Jays, 3 Blue-crowned Motmots, 8 Smooth-billed Anis, a Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Yellow-headed Parrots, 3 Tropical Kingbirds, a Drab Water-Tyrant, 6 Red-and-green Macaws, c60 White-collared Swifts, 2 Swallow-wings, 2 Grey-breasted Martins, a Ringed Kingfisher, 3 Blue-grey Tanagers, a Roadside Hawk, 2 Social Flycatchers and as we were leaving on the Flotel we passed a large stump in the water which had a 4 foot plus Anaconda coiled up on it.
On our way down river the only other species we added was an Oriole Blackbird.
Reaching Pompaya, we dis-embarked and on a look around the area we saw a Laughing Falcon, 10+ Fork-tailed Palm Swifts, a Magpie Tanager, 6+ Blue-Grey Tanagers, 2 House Wrens, a Short-tailed Swift, 2 Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers, 2 Yellow-bellied Elaenias, a Turkey Vulture, Southern Rough-winged Swallows, a Plain-brown Woodcreeper, a Scarlet-crowned Barbet, a Streaked Flycatcher, 2 Pale-vented Thrushes, 2 Band-backed Wrens, 2 Silver-beaked Tanagers, a Lesser/Thick-billed Seed-Finch, a Palm Tanager, a Sirystes and a Yellow-browed Sparrow.
Back on the Flotel we continued down river adding a Black Caracara to our list.
Reaching our furthest destination we transferred into smaller boats to travel along a narrow creek to the lodge at Laguna de Limoncocha, where we were to spend the night.
The rest of the day was spent in this area and with a boat trip around the lake seeing 9 Smooth-billed Anis, 2 Dark-billed Cuckoos, a Gray-lined Hawk, 2 Blue-gray Tanagers, a White-winged Becard, a Yellow-browed Sparrow, a Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, a Thick-billed Seed-Finch, a White-vented Euphonia, 24 Black-capped Mocking-Thrushes, 8 Wattled Jacanas, 2 White-winged Swallows, Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Tropical Kingbirds, Great Kiskadees, 12 American Purple Gallinules, 2 Sungrebes, 9 Greater Anis, 7 Red-capped Cardinals, 2 American Black Vultures, 2 Greater Yellow-headed Vultures, 13 Hoatzins, 6 Chestnut or Purus Jacamars, a Pale-eyed Thrush, an Osprey, 6 Azure Gallinules, 2 Magpie Tanagers, 3 Ringed Kingfishers, a Crimson-crested Woodpecker, 2 Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers, 2 Many-banded Aracaris, 2 Lettered Aracaris, 15 Red-billed or Cuvier's Toucans, a Silver-beaked Tanager, a Limpkin, a Ladder-tailed Nightjar, 9 Black Caymans and lots of Fishing Bats.
Greater Yellow-headed Vultures
Laguna de Limoncocha
Chestnut or Purus Jacamar
Accommodation at Laguna de Limoncocha
Overnight at Limoncocha, in the morning we took a boat across the lake, then we were taken on a walk through the forest near the edge of the lake, it was very muddy and after a while it began to rain, so the guide decided to cut the walk short. Nevertheless, we did see Yellow-rumped Casiques, Russet-backed Oropendolas, a Streaked Flycatcher, Short-tailed Swifts, Tropical Kingbirds, Southern Rough-winged Swallows, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadees, a White-necked or Cocoi Heron, an Osprey, a Giant Cowbird, Greater Anis, 2 Smooth-billed Anis, a Red-capped Cardinal, 2 Chestnut Jacamars, a Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, 2 Black Vultures, a Magpie Tanager, 2 Brown Jacamars and a Common Salamander.
Later we returned to the Flotel and made our way up-river to Primavera, on the journey seeing a Squirrel Cuckoo, c16 Crested Oropendolas, 2 Oriole Blackbirds, an Amazon Kingfisher, a Greater Yellowlegs and an Amazon River Dolphin.
At Primavera we saw a Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, 3 Swallow-wings and a Red-eyed Vireo.
Continuing we stopped at Isla de Los Monos seeing a Yellow-bellied Elaenia, 5 Black-fronted Nunbirds, 2 Yellow-browed Sparrows and 3 Brown or Humboldt's Woolly Monkeys.
Back on the Flotel we headed to San Carlos seeing 4 Black Vultures, a Bare-necked Fruitcrow, c8 Dusky-headed Parakeets and c40 Yellow-crowned Parrots.
Brown Woolly Monkey.
Creek from Napo River to Laguna de Limoncocha
Overnight at San Carlos, in the morning we traveled back to Coca, along the way seeing a Large-billed Tern and an Amazon Tern. At the airport while waiting for the plane we saw 2 Blue-winged Parrotlets, White-winged Swallows, Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Smooth-billed Anis, a Yellow-rumped Casique, a Tropical Kingbird, Fork-tailed Palm Swifts and a Zone-tailed Hawk.
The flight back to Quito was a lot more comfortable being earlier in the day.
Today a coach journey from Quito south through the 'Valley of the Volcanoes' to Riobamba, with several stops, the main stop was at the market in Latacunga. Along the way we saw Rufous-collared Sparrows, Eared Doves, a White-bellied Hummingbird, 4 Blue-and-white Swallows, a Hooded Siskin and 5 Band-tailed Seedeaters.
Spit roasting Guinea Pigs at Latacunga Market.
Overnight at the Hosteria El Troje in Riobamba, in the morning on a walk around the garden and local area we saw 6 Great Thrushes, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Band-tailed Seedeaters, 3 Blue-and-white Swallows, 2 Sparkling Violetears, a pair of Black-tailed Trainbearers, 2 Black-backed Grosbeaks, 2 Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaners and House Sparrows.
Later we boarded a train which would take us part way back north to Quito, a very slow journey which took us close to Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador and also the highest peak near the equator. Only a few birds seen including c20 Andean Lapwing, Pale-vented Pigeons, Dusky Pigeons and poor views of a Stout-billed Cinclodes.
Our last day and a free day for the group, while the others went shopping, I hired a taxi and with Howard and his girlfriend, who were staying at a nearby hotel, to take us to Cotopaxi, on the way seeing an American Kestrel.
Luckily it was clear on the approach and around the volcano and we saw 4 White-tailed Deer, 7 Stout-billed Cinclodes, 2 Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Great Thrushes, 22 Andean Lapwing, 4 Carunculated Caracaras, 8 Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, 6 Speckled Teal, 6 Andean or Slate-colored Coot, 16 Yellow-billed Pintail, a Puna Hawk, an Andean Condor, an Andean Gull, a Greater Yellowlegs, 10+ Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Baird's Sandpipers, a Semipalmated Sandpiper, c40 Pectoral Sandpipers, a White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, 6 White-browed Ground-Tyrants, a Tawny Antpitta, 2 Spot-billed Ground-Tyrants and as the mist descended all we could see on our way down the mountain was a large herd of Llamas.